15 Ways to Lower Oil Heating Bills This Winter

  • Susan Phillips

With all the talk about natural gas prices dropping, saving consumers money on winter fuel bills, the oil heat industry doesn’t want to go unheeded. An industry group released their top “15 Steps for a Leaner, Greener, Easier to Manage” oil bill this winter. The Energy Communications Council says giving oil heaters a tune-up will keep them efficient, and therefore, cheaper to use. Homeowners with natural gas furnaces may still end up saving more money this winter. But if you’re stuck with oil heat, here’s what should be on your winter prep to-do list:

• Get a heating system tune-up — it will ensure you get the maximum performance out of every drop of heating oil burned.
• Open shades and drapes when the sun is out to help warm your home. Close them when the sun goes down to reduce heat loss through drafty windows.
• Turn down the thermostat at night and when you are away from home; even slightly lowering your thermostat during the day may save you up to two percent on your heating bill.
• Insulate pipes to guard against heat loss and to prevent them from freezing.
• Stop heat loss by eliminating any gaps between your door and threshold. Use a seal that can be attached to the bottom of the door – it should brush up against the threshold to fill any gap.
• Caulk or re-caulk exterior spaces between the windows and walls of your home.
• Close your kitchen vent, fireplace damper and closet doors, and remove, cover or close air conditioning units and vents when not in use.
• Do not place furniture in front of radiators; it will block heat from circulating.
• Consider replacing heating systems that are more than 20 years old. Modern versions can cut heating costs by 15 to 25 percent.
• Talk to your heating fuel supplier about installing a programmable thermostat; it will pay for itself through lower energy costs in about a year.
• Make sure you have good insulation in exterior walls, ceilings with cold spaces above, and floors with cold spaces below.
• Install and close storm windows. Consider new glass designed to decrease radiant heat loss without lowering visibility. A lower cost option is sealing windows with a window insulator kit, which can be found at your local hardware store.
• Ask your local heating oil dealer about Bioheat®, a cleaner burning, renewable product that can be blended seamlessly with the heating oil you already use. It lowers emissions.
• In states where ultra-low sulfur heating oil is sold, biofuels can be blended creating a fuel suitable for burning in the world’s most efficient heating equipment.
• Consider having a solar water heating component installed. This small, easily installed system is virtually maintenance free and heats the water your family uses on a daily basis, using the free heat from the sun.
For more information regarding practical energy saving tips, contact your local heating oil dealer, your state or regional heating oil association, or visit www.heatingnews.org and www.oilheatamerica.com.